Before Breaking Ruth’s Record, Hank Aaron Had So Many Death Threats, He Had A Security Team Appointed To Protect Him
Willie Mays (l) and Hank Aaron at Shea Stadium June 3, 1972 – the two true #1 and #3 career home run leaders
Forty years ago today, on April 8, 1974, Hank Aaron, under incredible duress, hit his 715th career home run, breaking Babe Ruth’s record.
Aaron finished his career in 1976 with 755 home runs and is now second all-time on the career home run list to Barry Bonds. In my mind and many others, Aaron is still the legitimate home run champion due to Bonds strange physical transformation in which his body became gargantuan and slugged more and more home runs as he aged.
What Aaron had to endure with the constant death threats and pressure is poignantly told in an excellent article by USA Today‘s Bob Nightengale which is reproduced below.
Hank Aaron has the letters tucked away in his attic, preserved these last 40 years. He’s not ready to let them go.
He almost has them memorized by now, but still he carefully opens them up and reads every word, as if he wants to feel the pain.
“You are (not) going to break this record established by the great Babe Ruth if I can help it,” one of them reads. “Whites are far more superior than jungle bunnies. My gun is watching your every black move.” Continue reading